Semicarbazide (SEM) is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) official marker for nitrofurazone use in food animals. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service conducted a study to evaluate the source of semicarbazide (SEM) that was identified by a U.S. trading partner in a subset of chicken samples presented for inspection, even though nitrofurazone has been banned from use in U.S. food producing animals since 2002. The study design included analyses to detect and quantify total and bound SEM in chicken collected from the eight U.S. establishments that were associated with the reported detection of SEM. Samples were collected immediately following evisceration, chilling, and cut-up (cutting carcass into parts). While antimicrobial interventions (processes to reduce pathogen concentrations) are typically used at all three of these processing steps, the product contact time during chilling is significantly longer (hours vs seconds) than during evisceration and cut-up. In addition, parts were analyzed after 0, 10, 20, and 30 days of frozen storage. No post-evisceration samples tested positive for SEM; however, most samples collected post-chilling and post-cut-up tested positive. The absence of SEM in post-evisceration samples and detection in the subsequent post-chilling and post-cut-up samples suggest that the detection of SEM in the sampled products is not indicative of preharvest nitrofurazone use and may be a result of post-harvest processing in these establishments.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.